Customers queue through night for discount Hoovers - but none work

Fury over Poundstretcher 'bargain'

Updated: 

Sharon Cumber and her daughter Michelle with their Hoovers outside Poundstretcher in Sheerness. See National story NNSUCK Bargain hunters have been left devastated after queuing overnight in the freezing cold to buy cheap Hoovers - that did not work. A group of desperate discount devotees queued for six-and-a-half hours for the £15 vacuum cleaners when a new branch of Poundstretcher opened. But Sharon Cumber, 56, and daughter Michelle, 22, were left heartbroken after the bargain buys from the store in Sheerness, Kent, were faulty. The pair, who were third and fourth in line for the opening, have now blasted the retailer and claim their complaints are being 'fobbed off'.

A PR exercise by discount store Poundstretcher has backfired, with customers furious about bargain vacuum cleaners that don't work.

When the chain opened a new store in Sheerness, Kent, on Friday, it promised that the five customers who were first through the doors could pick up a £280 cordless Hoover for just £15.

See also: Pound shops: are they always a bargain?

See also: Seven secrets for brilliant bargains at Aldi and Lidl

Some customers queued through the night - up to six and a half hours - in freezing temperatures to get their hands on one.

However, it has now emerged that the vacuum cleaners may not have been such a bargain after all, with the five 'lucky' customers all discovering that they don't work.

Despite charging the devices for 12 hours before use, as the instructions specified, the vacuum cleaners failed to turn on. While there's no explanation as to why, it seems possible that the rechargeable batteries failed after a long period without use.

"I took the Hoover back on Saturday as it did not work. I have now found out that none of them worked and all five have been returned," David Hollamby tells Kent Online.

"All I've been told was to leave my name and address and they would get back to me next week some time."

Other dissatisfied customers were told that the store would have to contact the company's head office, and that it could be a week before they got a response.

Legally, when a product doesn't work, it's the retailer that's responsible for sorting things out, rather than the manufacturer. Customers should be offered a replacement, a repair or a refund for an item that's unfit for purpose.

In this case, a refund might well not satisfy customers who spent hours queuing for the £15 appliance.

Poundstretcher is distancing itself from the problem, saying that Hoover has agreed to sort out.

"We have been in contact with the manufacturer who has confirmed that they will be dealing directly with the customers to resolve the situation satisfactorily," it says.

Disappointed customers can call Hoover's customer service department on 0344 4995599.

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